A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America
By Jay Feldman
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780307388230, 378pp.)
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
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A riveting and unsettling history of the assault on civil rights and liberties in America—from World War I to the War on Terror—by the acclaimed author of When the Mississippi Ran Backwards.
In this ambitious and wide-ranging account, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria to the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities (ethnic, racial, political, religious, or sexual), silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman considers the entire programmatic sweep on a scale no one has yet approached. In doing so, he gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed.